By Melinda L. Jackson et al.
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Twenty-one CFS participants completed a 22- day open label trial. Faecal microbiota analysis was performed at baseline and at the end of the trial. Participants were administered erythromycin 400 mg b.d. for 6 days. Actigraphy and questionnaires were used to monitor sleep, symptoms and mood. Changes in patients who showed a clinically significant change in faecal Streptococcus after treatment (responders; defined as post-therapy distribution<6%) were compared to participants who did not respond to treatment.
In the seven responders, there was a significant increase in actigraphic total sleep time (p=0.028) from baseline to follow up, compared with non-responders. Improved vigour scores were associated with a lower Streptococcus count (p=-0.90, p=0.037). For both the responders and the whole group, poorer mood was associated with higher Lactobacillus.
Short term antibiotic treatment appears to be insufficient to effect sustainable changes in the gut ecosystem in most CFS participants. Some improvement in objective sleep parameters and mood were found in participants with reduced levels of gram-positive gut microbiota after antibiotic treatment, which is encouraging. Further study of possible links between gut microorganisms and sleep and mood disturbances is warranted.